Lester has surgery, Armenteros shut down with sore arm

Jon Lester underwent thyroid removal surgery today in New York and was recovering this afternoon, according to Nationals manager Davey Martinez.

Martinez said the club was still waiting to hear from doctors for more details about Lester's procedure, which was scheduled two days ago after the veteran left-hander and cancer survivor reported feeling tired, prompting medical tests that concluded his thyroid gland should be removed.

"The only thing that came out of it was that's he's recovering," Martinez said when asked what the club has been told so far since Lester came out of surgery. "He's doing well, and now we'll wait and see what the prognosis was."

The thyroidectomy procedure, in which all or part of the butterfly-shaped gland that wraps around the neck is removed, is fairly common. Patients often are discharged from the hospital the same day. In announcing the news Wednesday, the Nationals said they believed Lester could be back in West Palm Beach, Fla., and pitching in about a week.

Given Lester's medical history, though, there was perhaps more cause for concern than in most other cases. The 37-year-old was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2006 and underwent chemotherapy. He famously returned to pitch for the Red Sox in July 2007 and helped lead them to a World Series title that October.

A three-time World Series champion with the Red Sox and Cubs, Lester signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Nationals this winter and is projected to be their No. 4 starter behind Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, ahead of possible No. 5 starter Joe Ross. He was scheduled to make his spring debut Thursday against the Mets before the decision was made to have his surgery.

* Scherzer will be the first member of that projected rotation to pitch this spring when he takes the mound tonight against the Cardinals, but the others are about to join him.

Corbin will make his debut Saturday against the Marlins, according to Martinez. After an off-day Sunday - players will still work out at the complex and take live batting practice - Ross is slated to start Monday against the Mets.

Strasburg's 2021 debut has not been formally announced yet, but Martinez suggested it's coming after those other teammates pitch.

"Hopefully, he'll be shortly after that," the manager said. "We'll get him going soon."

Armenteros-Throws-Red-ST-Sidebar.jpgOne other outside candidate for a rotation job, and certainly one who could be called upon sometime this season, is currently being held back from pitching due to injury. Right-hander Rogelio Armenteros was shut down a few days ago after reporting soreness in his arm.

The 26-year-old, who was claimed off waivers from the Diamondbacks in December, pitched one scoreless inning of relief Sunday against St. Louis. He hasn't thrown since.

"After his first outing, he had some discomfort in his arm," Martinez said. "Right now, he's waiting to see the doctor, and we'll figure out what's going to happen. But we shut him down for the time being."

* The Nationals have not yet had any players test positive for COVID-19 this spring, and they hope that continues to be the case despite a potential outbreak in the Astros clubhouse on the other side of their shared spring training complex.

Eight Houston pitchers are currently in quarantine after potential exposure to the coronavirus, though the team has not yet announced if any of them have tested positive. Major League Baseball announced five positive tests this week across the entire league, bringing the total number of positive tests this spring among all clubs to 25 (19 players, six staffers).

Nationals players and staffers took their regular every-other-day tests today, and they were asked beforehand if any have had close interactions with any members of the Astros. (The two teams played each other Monday but otherwise don't cross paths at their vast ballpark.)

"They all said no, so hopefully we can keep our side of the stadium free of COVID," Martinez said. "I want to say, our guys are doing a great job about following protocol. So I hope that everybody's OK over there with Houston and they can nip that in the bud."

Lineups: Nats vs. Marlins in Jupiter
Lineups: Nats vs. Cardinals in West Palm Beach

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